Yesterday there was no raid due to the lack of healers, so I’ve been kidnapped and forced to do PvP. Specifically, 2v2 Arenas with our resident holy pinkadin.
Hmmm. “Forced” sounds kind of wrong, like I didn’t like doing this, which is not true at all. Let’s try again.
Yesterday there was no raid due to the lack of healers, so our resident holy pinkadin Tuttebel invited me to have a lot of fun in 2v2 Arenas as a prot warrior – holy pala team.
Okay, this is a lot better and is at least honest, this can stay.
I’ve been already doing a lot of Battlegrounds on my warrior as prot, and I liked it a lot, so I agreed for doing some arenas to see if it would be fun as well. We started on Tuesday after the raid, just to get a few games done for her weekly points, but strangely enough we didn’t lose as much as we were expecting to.
During these few days I’ve tweaked my pvp spec a bit (note that I might not have it on armory currently, because at the point at which it was written I was respeccing my tanking spec for it – seriously Blizzard, make it cost another 1k or make it even 10k gold, but I really need a third spec) and got some better gear (and a little more resilience), so this time it went much better.
We did about 30 games of which we lost about 11, most of them at the beginning where I was still running around a bit like a headless chicken. Once I stopped that and got used to the arena maps and staying close enough to my healer to be able to Intervene her if needed, it went much better. Of course, we have a low rating of 1100 and something (especially me, since I’ve just started this week), so obviously the other teams aren’t the best either. Still, it was a lot of fun and you can expect some posts about it if we get somewhere with this.
There was a few noteworthy things this evening.
Facing a double rogue team was fun, but we won that one pretty fast – fortunately two plate users with a protection warrior, a rogue is not a big problem at all if you manage to survive the initial stunlock and burst, as I have just about the same amount of stuns availaible and an advantage of a ton (for pvp at least) of armor and avoidance.
We also faced one team of a cat druid and holy pala. That fight was… interesting, if that’s the right word. It lasted for 26 minutes, in which time I was trying to a) get the paladin healer low on mana (not an easy job when he has like 25k of it and I’m not a dps), b) get the kitty off Tuttebel’s face, while the other team was doing more or less the same. Fortunately the other healer went OOM faster, and then it was only a matter of silencing and stunlocking him and getting some lucky Shield Slam crits at the same time – and after the enemy paladin went down, finishing off the kitty was just a formality. Fortunately we only encountered them once in a whole evening, but I have to say that these were really cool and fun 26 minutes.
Speaking of Shield Slam crits – we had one team with a pve geared arcane mage. Have I mentioned already that I absolutely love low resilience targets? Here’s why.
That’s just a little over 11k in one hit, from defensive stance. Before you start thinking that protection warriors are overpowered, remember that a decent amount (700-900) of resilience reduces that to 5k on average, and on top of that I only have about 30% of crit chance on Shield Slam, and I really need to have procs, cooldowns and some setup in order to do so much damage. Still, seeing a mage’s health go down from 80% to 5% in one blow is just awesome.
I’ve also almost single-handedly killed a retri paladin and a deathknight. They both went for Tuttebel first and somehow bursted her down pretty fast, but I was able to dps down first the paladin, then finish off the deathknight with me having about 1k health left. Very lucky.
Of course this post would not be complete without mentioning the worst enemy you can ever encounter as a warrior – a discipline priest. If they’re any good, they will spam Power Word: Shield, making you unable to get any rage, and therefore unable to do any damage. If paired with a ranged dps class, like a hunter or a warlock, it’s not an easy team to deal with – unless you’re good at playing hide and seek with them. We didn’t manage that yet, but there’s always next time!
So, the newest event in World of Warcraft has officially started. The Pilgrim’s Bounty, based on the real Thanksgiving, is a quite short, one-week long event full of cooking and many turkeys.
I’ve already almost finished doing the achievements on both of my primary characters – the only real thing I have left is shooting some poor rogues with the Turkey Shooters you get from the dailies. Unfortunately that will have to wait a while for tomorrow when the dailies will reset, since I don’t have enough shooters – but I’m already prepared with all the necessary food made and waiting in the banks.
It’s a bit silly, because once again I’ve done over 90% of a world event’s achievements in less than one day, but I guess Blizzard makes the events for everyone, not just for our achievement hunting group that will stay up half a night doing that stuff.
A bonus from the event – since you have to cook everything yourself, there are special recipes covering cooking from 1 to 350. That means you can skip Azeroth and Outland cooking altogether, so I’ve finally leveled my druid’s cooking skill over the 240 or so it has been on for a while. And on 350 skill you can already start learning the Northrend trainer recipes, so I guess I’ll be doing some extra fishing during the week.
Oh, and we finally got the Onyxian Whelp today as well – and she’s, well… Can’t really say she’s cute, because she looks like a whelp after all (only with Onyxia’s miniaturized head), but the random animation she has is absolutely awesome. She makes an emote “Onyxian Whelpling takes a deep breath…” and runs around puffing smoke out of her mouth. Oh well, still a long way to go, little one, but it’s a good start!
With the latest patch finally showing up in the background downloader, it usually means it’s release is coming quite soon. I won’t be playing the guessing game this time, but the downloader being active usually means from a week to a few. I was putting off writing this post for a while now, mostly because due to the live game (and other not game related activities) I was not online on the PTR this time. But, the time has finally come.
- The new raid instance and the heroics. I love new dungeon content, especially if it’s something like I hope Icecrown will be – fun, challenging but not impossible, and if I get a few extra good quality stories with it, I will be extra happy.
- The revamped LFG system. Cross-server pugs? Random dungeons, along with a tool that don’t require me to spend most of my time in Dalaran when I’d rather be wasting my time farming stuff or doing quests? Pretty much awesome. Plus, you can’t go wrong with tanking for pugs – it’s always entertaining.
- The Quel’Delar questline – it might not be a legendary (and being a tank on my warrior I’ll probably won’t get the orange axe anyway), but it looks very cool and promising. Besides, I already have two Quel’Serrars, so it’s only appropriate that I’d get their sister blade, even if it will have to be of the two-handed variety.
- Quality of life improvements – things like removing the level restriction on meeting stones, various changes for early leveling, changes to the map and quest tracking… it all adds up and it’s removing various annoyances from the game.
- The gating system. I really hope it will somehow work out, but seeing the news that we’re gonna only have the first four bosses availaible for several weeks… I can only hope that they will provide enough of the required fun and challenge in that case. Not to mention the limited tries on the last bosses on each wing, though that might be something not that bad really, since it will make us really focus and figure out what we did wrong.
- Changing the Master Angler of Stranglethorn. While I like the Kalu’ak Derby itself, I feel like adding it to this achievement is kinda making the Stranglethorn fishing tournament pointless. I know why it’s been done, but still, they could do it in a different way, like adding a new meta achievement for at least one of both tournaments and then adding this new meta to the Salty one.
- Restricting raids to players above level 10. While I understand it’s meant to be a quality of life change for new players that might not be aware of what a raid group is and what it does (and trust me, everyone did try to quest while in a raid at some point), it’s a bit disappointing because it will restrict fun playermade events.
- The tier sets. The rogue one is once again just weird, and while I know that geists are really an appropriate look for Icecrown Citadel, it’s still not something I’ll want to see. The warrior stuff is pretty mediocre, as I really liked the look of T9 shoulders, and the druid headpiece… let’s not mention the druid headpiece.
At least, that’s what Chronis of <Loot and Run> on Deathwing-EU says, so it must be true. Right?
I’ll show you the whole conversation, because I made me smile on an otherwise dull evening.
Chronis > logic.
Especially after I explicitely told him I was soloing stuff, yet he kept going, babbling something about HP reg not working in raids. Which it obviously does, because why wouldn’t it.
The ignore & insult at the end is also a classic.
A little something I’ve found, strangely enough, browsing around World of Matticus’ comments for some post. That pointed me towards Askevar’s post (I love that blog’s name. All tanks should.) and further towards Koriel of Whatisboom and Tarsus of Tanking For Dummies (who had two additional questions about encounters, so I grabbed them as well). Well, since lately the warrior is my most played character, I think I can join as well. So, here it goes.
What is the name, class, and spec of your primary tank?
Vrethir, protection warrior for life. I’m using a mixed 15/3/53 spec that includes both Deep Wounds (for threat) and Improved Disciplines (with glyphed Shield Wall, for our 10-man hard modes). It’s not the best choice, but it works and saves me gold I would have to use for respecs.
What is your primary tanking environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)
All of the above. Raids (10-mans and some more 25-mans recently) and five-man instances are what I do the most, since I’m mostly a PvE player. Running battlegrounds as a protection warrior is also very fun and enjoyable. No arenas yet though, maybe someday.
What is your favorite encounter to tank, and why?
Mimiron (including our tries of Firefighter). It’s a very varied fight, and you have lots of things to do, so you can’t be bored. Hard mode of Hodir is also not as boring as it might seem. Single-tanking the third phase of our Yogg-Saron fight was also very enjoyable.
What is your least favorite encounter to tank, and why?
Loatheb, Vezax (since I’m usually on boss duty due to cooldowns), Ignis (if we’re doing the speed kill and I’m on boss duty again) – from a tanks perspective they are both tank and spank fights that are simple and boring. I have to admit I like to do these once in a while for a change, but I prefer something where I can use more of my abilities.
What is your favorite tanking spell for your class and why?
That definitely must be Shield Slam. It combines a ton of aggro, dispels, and dps in one handy tool.
What tanking spell do you use least for your class and why?
A warrior uses pretty much everything he can, but if I have to choose one of the least used it would be probably Mocking Blow – it’s only useful once in a blue moon if my taunt misses and the boss absolutely needs to be on me right now.
What do you feel is the biggest strength of your tanking class and why?
Mobility, because the Warbringer talent is full of awesome, and I would not like a tanking spec that does not have it (which is also one of the reasons why I have an arms offspec, not a fury one – but that’s not really tanking related ;] ). Single-target tanking comes as a very close second, but none of the other tanks are as mobile as warriors are.
What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your tanking class and why?
AoE tanking. Yes, I can do it and not get the dps killed in a process, but it’s not what I like or what the warriors are good at. Sure, we can get some initial aggro with Thunderclap followed by Shockwave, but at that point we’re waiting till they come off cooldown, flailing wildly at both tab and the cleave button.
In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best tanking assignment for you?
Facing the boss, introducing my big shield to his ugly face (or whatever he/she/it might have instead. I’m not picky). Or picking up the adds, if there aren’t too many of them.
What tanking class do you enjoy tanking with most and why?
I don’t mind tanking alongside any class at all, as long as there is a good player (with his brain mostly intact) behind it. I say mostly, because apparently if you’re tanking, you can’t be 100% normal. ;)
What tanking class do you enjoy tanking with least and why?
Just as I don’t have a preference, I don’t really have a least favourite co-tank. Do your job and you’re fine with me.
What is your worst habit as a tank?
Showing up to a heroic run in my block value gear (which is not bad in itself), and laughing at the DPS I’ve outdpsed afterwards. Usually when I’m looking for another pug DPS to a 5-man instance, I’ll put a message in /trade saying “LFM DPS <insert instance name>, must be able to outdps me” or something similar.
What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while tanking?
Non-tanks pulling stuff before me. Do that, and I will just stand there waiting for you to die, and pick it up afterwards. I’m the tank here, if I wanted you to pull something, I’d ask you.
Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other tanks?
Mostly yes, and the current expansion did a lot of good things for protection warriors. We still lack some more decent AoE tools – while Thunderclap and Shockwave are good, once they’re on cooldown we can only tab around the mobs wildly and spam Cleave, which is not cool at all.
What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a tank?
Omen is obvious here. Also Recount is very useful, especially the Deaths part of it and the detailed information about what happened before I died – it helps me to quickly find out if it was my mistake or somebody elses. It could be a bit better though, as it doesn’t show the cooldowns I’ve used, only heals and incoming damage.
What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your class?
It’s a bit hard to choose something, so I’ll go with Tarsus – we’re no longer THE main tank. I can do any job in a raid, and while I personally like tanking bosses (and adds to some extent), I’ll go and tank that 15 whelps that just showed up.
Also, there is that ganking thing, since Deathwing-EU is a PvP server. Oh look, a lone warrior, let’s gank him! Well, if I’m not afk, and you don’t have friends, there is a very high chance that this will not end well for you. A chance, because I am of course not invincible (and will most likely lose versus a good PvPer, which I’m not), but I’ve taught enough Hordies their lessons both during my leveling as protection and while running around as a level 80.
What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new tanks of your class to learn?
Use all of your availaible tools. Warriors have a tool for every occasion, learn how and when to use them.
If it can be disarmed, you should do it. If a spell can be interrupted, you should interrupt it. A warlock is doing a lot of threat? Put a Vigilance on him, and Intervene him if you have a chance. A Nerubian Burrower is trying to submerge and there is no blue stuff anywhere near? Stun it, you have 3 different stuns to use.
Don’t just stand there and mash Devastate.
Effective Health or Avoidance and why?
EH of course, but I like balance, so I’m not stacking it blindly. Still, it’s needed just to survive things like ToGC, and with the introduction of the Sunwell Radiance-like aura in Icecrown, that’s not going to change anytime soon.
What tanking class do you feel you understand least?
Druids. While I have a druid character, I’ve never really tried the feral playstyle on him – I’ve got a rogue and a warrior, why on Azeroth would I want another?
What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in tanking?
I use a lot of macros that combine different abilities in one button – and even then I’m running out of easy to reach keybinds. Other than that, I use Satrina Buff Frames to have a separate buff bars with important buffs and debuffs – important being the things I have to watch out for, like Sword and Board proc or Demoralizing Shout and Sunder Armor timers.
I also use Grid all the time, even in heroics – it’s much easier to see the healers mana on it, and much easier to choose a dps to Intervene or put Vigilance on it. This gets more tricky in 25-mans, but with enough practice you can do it quickly.
Do you strive primarily for balance between your tanking stats, or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?
My main gear set is mostly balanced – it has decent Stamina, not bad Avoidance values, almost capped Hit and Expertise. If I need to change something, I carry around other pieces of gear – like the Brewfest Stamina trinkets, which I will equip if the encounter is mostly about high unavoidable (or magical) damage that my dodge trinket will be useless on. If I need more threat, I can switch one ring back to the Emblem of Valor one at a cost of some health.